Phytonutrients sounds like a pretty complicated word, but really, it refers to a very simple group of nutrients (the substances that provide nourishment). Phytonutrients are specifically plant compounds, that is, the nutrients found in plants. You may have heard of them in other ways: antioxidants, flavonoids, flavones, phytochemicals, catechins, isoflavones, carotenoids, and polyphenols, to name a few. All of these terms reference phytonutrients: the nutrients that are available to humans from plants.
As more and more people move towards plant-based diets, and as more and more plants are studied in terms of how the human body uses them, research is showing just how vital phytonutrients are to humans. Some research estimates that there are up to 4,000 different phytonutrients. Here are some of the ones you might have heard of: beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, resveratrol, anthocyanins, and isoflavones. You’ve probably seen these in your supermarket’s supplements section. And while supplements can be useful, it’s almost always best to get your phytonutrients straight from the source, which means eating more fruits and vegetables.
Which fruits and veggies do you need to be eating to get these phytonutrients? Well the short answer is, any of them. But here are some of the common fruits and vegetables you can eat to get some of the phytonutrients we listed above.
That’s a lot of fruits and vegetables! The human body loves variety, too, so the more fruits and vegetables you consume, the greater the total number of phytonutrients you’ll get.
The bio-what? Bioavailability refers to how well the human body can use the phytonutrients that are packed into fruits and vegetables. Some phytonutrients are more or less accessible to our bodies, based on a number of different factors. Most of these factors involve the processing of the fruits and vegetables, such as:
When fruits and vegetables have to be shipped a long way from their origin, they often lose phytonutrients due to the stress of travel and the fact that they age during the time it takes to get them to their destination. Produce is also heavy, due to the considerable amounts of water it contains, so transporting it leaves a big carbon footprint.
Because many fruits and veggies need to be transported long distances before reaching their destinations, they are often picked before they are ripe and then artificially ripened. Some research has shown that fruits and vegetables that are artificially ripened have lower amounts of phytonutrients than those that are allowed to ripen naturally.
Many canned fruits and vegetables contain preservatives, sweeteners or other chemicals that may affect the bioavailability of the produce’s phytonutrients. If the produce is heated before canning, this may also adversely affect its phytonutrient levels. One key exception to this is tomatoes: heating tomatoes, as well as some other produce containing lycopene, actually increases the bioavailability of lycopene.
Freezing is actually one of the best methods of preserving phytonutrients, as most produce is quickly frozen when it is freshly picked, and it can last for months in your freezer and still be put to good use. The major drawback to frozen fruits and veggies is that they almost always require preparation of some sort; i.e. you can’t just thaw them and eat them.
Possibly the best means of processing fruits and vegetables is freeze-drying. Produce that is freeze-dried is almost always harvested at the peak of the produce’s ripeness, quickly flash frozen, then freeze-dried so it retains most of the phytonutrients. You can eat freeze-dried fruits and veggies as they are, reconstitute them with water, or grind them into powder, and none of these processes causes the loss of any nutrients. They can also be easily transported and have a lower carbon footprint than any other processing means. Freeze-drying removes all of the water from the produce, which makes up the bulk of its weight.
As the best means of enjoying your fruits and veggies, freeze-drying raises the bar considerably. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables retain all of their vibrant phytonutrients, and because the water is removed, their flavor is highly concentrated. Freeze-dried produce is like candy, especially the fruits. This is because the naturally occurring sugars in the fruits are highly concentrated. Snacking on berries is always a tasty treat; snacking on free-dried berries is a flavor explosion.
Since freeze-dried produce can easily be powdered without damaging the produce or losing any of the valuable fiber in it (because you can grind down the whole fruit or vegetable, skin, flesh and all), powdered freeze-dried produce is a delicious way to get your prebiotics — naturally-occurring fiber and other compounds that aid in digestion. This is where Ruvi comes in.
Unlike any other powdered beverage on the market, Ruvi contains only fruits and vegetables, picked and freeze-dried at their peak. Freeze-drying the fruits and vegetables at their ripest means that you’ll get all of the phytonutrients available in the produce. And there is a lot of variety: 26 different fruits and vegetables to be exact.
Each Ruvi packet contains 4 full servings of fruits and vegetables. Ruvi Active, Ruvi Boost and Ruvi Focus all contain 2 ½ servings of fruits and 1 ½ servings of vegetables, and Clean contains 1 ½ servings of fruits and 2 ½ servings of vegetables. And that’s all these packets contain: fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried and pulverized to make an easy, refreshing drink, an addition to smoothie or yogurt, a cereal topper, or whatever you’d like!
Get creative with your fruit & vegetable consumption and see how much more awesome you feel when you’re consuming more phytonutrients. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables simply feels better. Ruvi makes getting your daily fruits and veggies easy.